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Long-Term Field Metal Extraction by Pelargonium: Phytoextraction Efficiency in Relation to Plant Maturity

Shahid, Muhammad, Arshad, Muhammad, Kaemmerer, Michel, Pinelli, Eric, Probst, Anne, Baque, David, Pradere, Philippe, Dumat, Camille
International journal of phytoremediation 2012 v.14 no.5 pp. 493-505
Pelargonium, arsenic, cadmium, copper, field experimentation, hydroponics, lead, phytoremediation, rhizosphere, soil, soil pollution, soil remediation, zinc
The long length of periods required for effective soil remediation via phytoextraction constitutes a weak point that reduces its industrial use. However, these calculated periods are mainly based on short-term and/or hydroponic controlled experiments. Moreover, only a few studies concern more than one metal, although soils are scarcely polluted by only one element.In this scientific context, the phytoextraction of metals and metalloids (Pb, Cd, Zn, Cu, and As) by Pelargonium was measured after a long-term field experiment. Both bulk and rhizosphere soils were analyzed in order to determine the mechanisms involved in soil-root transfer. First, a strong increase in lead phytoextraction was observed with plant maturity, significantly reducing the length of the period required for remediation. Rhizosphere Pb, Zn, Cu, Cd, and As accumulation was observed (compared to bulk soil), indicating metal mobilization by the plant, perhaps in relation to root activity. Moreover, metal phytoextraction and translocation were found to be a function of the metals’ nature. These results, taken altogether, suggest that Pelargonium could be used as a multi-metal hyperaccumulator under multi-metal soil contamination conditions, and they also provide an interesting insight for improving field phytoextraction remediation in terms of the length of time required, promoting this biological technique.